How to Win (and Keep) Customers
A power shift has taken place and many didn’t even notice. Now, more than ever, customers have more control, access to research, access to product reviews and purchase opportunities.
Purpose-driven brands know the key to market success hinges on their ability to connect consumers to their brand purpose and their promise—two non-negotiable ingredients for successful brands.
Keeping up with what customers want and deserve today, can make or break your market and brand impact. Here are some effective ways to authentically communicate and build lasting customer trust.
Love Thy Customer
One of the most important things you can express to your customer is that they are truly valued by you. Knowing that you don’t see them as a transaction, but as part of your extended brand family, they commit to purchasing more of your products or services and share those experiences with their friends and family.
Knowing that they count beyond their wallet will increase the likelihood that they will become advocates and ambassadors of your brand to their circle of influence.
Stand Up for What You Believe
Done right, your brand purpose and promise are built on the organizational beliefs. Knowing what you believe and telling the world about it creates a stance for your brand.
An example of a brand that recently stood by its beliefs is Patagonia. Recently, they pulled out of one of the biggest industry events called the ASR (Action Sports Retailer) Trade Show in Salt Lake City. They did so in order to urge Utah’s governor Gary Herbert to stop trying to undo the decision by former President Obama to create the Bears Ears National Monument. This was a courageous move by Patagonia, one that other outdoor brands followed.
The stance that Patagonia takes continues well after ASR. Several of their most recent social media feeds promoted the beauty of the Bear Ears National Monument. They also created a “Take Action” microsite which is a petition-centric approach to having Bear Ears saved as a national monument. It’s worth noting that there’s not product or product placement in the videos or social media strings for this initiative.
One of the key tenants for any business in the world of branding and marketing is consistency. Consistency in what a brand says and does. Applied over time, it leads to integrity and, ultimately, audience trust.
Be ConsistentThe converse is also true. Consumers are savvier than ever and can often see beyond “values washing,” when companies say they value one set of beliefs, but do another.
Some years back when “sustainability” was the marketing term de jure, brands started jumping on the bandwagon and presented ads to customers who wanted to align with companies that were sustainable or produced sustainable products. The downside of this was that some companies merely marketed “sustainability” as a position, but didn’t live up to it in their culture or products. This was dubbed as “green washing.”
Brands that are inconsistent in their marketplace position and message create diminished audience trust and can loose customers in the short and long-term. For more on this, check out our video on “values washing.”
Listen and Learn From Reviews
The power of reviews on Yelp and Google, along with other review-based sites, is immeasurable especially if you’re a service-based business. Word-of-mouth is considered to be 10x more valuable than an advertising message. So, if people highlight the shortcomings of your product through social channels, it’s likely you have a brand promise consistency issue that needs addressing.
When managing social complaints from customers in social media, be transparent, helpful and when it’s right, apologetic. People want to know that they’re heard and that the brand cares about them. Most importantly, brands need to stand by their beliefs and their employees. The customer is not always right, but nearly always has the right to be heard. If nothing else, the brand can learn from customer feedback and decide how to respond and apply that learning.
Our advice: Don’t be afraid to get close and personal with your audiences. The more you can customized and personalize your relationship with them the more they will value your brand and the relationship they have with you. And keep in mind that any relationship is a two-way street. The more you listen, the more you learn what your customers want, need and desire.
Steve can help you create an integrated belief-driven business that can reach and align with more of the right people —employees, customers, donors and investors—in a sustainable and meaningful way.